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13 Keys to Weight Loss
Take charge of your weight and create an extraordinary quality of life
Achieving lasting weight loss and fitness is a struggle for many people from all walks of life. While losing weight and keeping it off isn’t easy, understanding the path to weight loss can be. Mastery of the 13 keys to weight loss allows you to focus your commitment where it counts and see meaningful results.
1. Key components to aid weight loss
Successful weight loss demands the right combination of three components: good nutrition, physical activity and behavior modification.
Your body can’t do everything you want it to without the right fuel. Reject processed foods full of additives or other artificial substances in favor of whole foods. You’ll be trading in excess salt, sugar and fat for dense nutrients your body can use. You will need to consume fewer calories than you burn to lose weight, so managing portion sizes and calories is critical.
Make sure you engage in physical activity that you enjoy every day. It doesn’t need to be a marathon; taking the stairs at work and walking or biking is a great place to start. Choose whatever works for you and your schedule so you know you’ll get it done each day.
So much attention is paid to nutrition and exercise that the last component, behavior modification, is put far on the backburner. The “yo-yo” effect of dieting and gaining weight back again is a result of failing to modify problematic behaviors. It doesn’t matter if you’ve failed in your weight loss efforts in the past — you can do it this time!
Modify your emotions and behaviors now so you can manage your weight effectively moving forward. This means learning to think differently about planning meals, staying active and prioritizing physical health, surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family and believing that you can — and will — achieve your goals.
The human body is a waste elimination machine, and it has six organs that take charge of this essential function: the colon, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymph nodes and skin. These organs work together to rid your body of up to two pounds of toxic waste each and every day. When they’re not working properly, or when even one of these organs is compromised, the entire body and your health can suffer as toxins cause disease.
These kinds of problems often begin with what we eat. After all, the more toxins we ingest, the harder the detox job becomes for our body. Dead foods, processed foods, refined sugars and fats tax your system rather than serving it. As they cause your blood sugar to spike and plummet, clog your colon, poison your blood and cause constipation, your body is compromised.
How can you tell when your body is having trouble eliminating toxins? There are eight warning signs to watch for:
- Bad breath
- Brain fog
- Diet high in alcohol, caffeine, sugar and/or white flour
- Fatigue, lethargy or poor sleep habits
- Poor sleep quality
- Skin problems
- Yellow or red eyes
You already know that your diet is critical to your health, but do you know what your ideal diet should look like? Make sure at least 80 percent of your calories are from high-quality, healthy foods. You can add some indulgences into the remaining 20 percent of your calories, but remember, the more high-quality foods you eat, the better it is for you, your body and your health.
High-quality foods should consist of unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans and whole grains. Cook sparingly with oils, and choose healthier alternatives such as safflower or olive oil. Other diet tips to keep in mind:
- Within an hour of waking up, eat a high-fiber, high-protein breakfast.
- Eat a high-fiber, high-protein snack mid-afternoon to fight back the urge to hit the vending machine or coffee stand.
- Make non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens and peppers your mainstays at each meal.
- Drink water all day long. Staying hydrated is essential to great health, and it also helps you feel full, so you don’t eat when you’re really just thirsty.
- Not all calories are created equal, so choose weight loss friendly foods.
Weight loss friendly foods
Weight loss friendly foods are those that keep you feeling satisfied longer and help you burn calories. They go through the right metabolic pathways to support your weight loss. Here is a list of foods you should focus on to optimize your weight loss:
Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar, when taken with a meal, can help you feel fuller. It has also been shown to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.
Avocados. Avocados are loaded with fiber and potassium. They’re also full of healthy fats like monounsaturated oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil, and contain a high amount of water to help keep you hydrated. Including avocados in salad can increase the uptake of nutrients from the other vegetables by up to 15 times.
Beans and legumes. Beans and legumes are high in protein, resistant starch and fiber, all of which help you feel fuller. Lentils, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and white beans are all great choices.
Blueberries. Packed with antioxidants, a single cup of blueberries is filled with four grams of fiber and only 84 calories.
Chia seeds. Chia seeds are truly one of the world’s superfoods. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, they are also high in fiber, soaking up liquid and expanding in your stomach.
Chili pepper. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a substance which can increase fat burning and reduce appetite. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory.
Coconut oil. Coconut oil is unique among fats for its ability to boost feelings of satiety and help the body burn more calories.
Cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are higher in protein than other vegetables, very high in fiber and can help fight cancer. The combination of high fiber/protein and low energy density make them ideal for weight loss.
Dark chocolate. You can enjoy dark chocolate in moderation. It contains healthy fats called MUFAs that help your metabolism burn more calories and fat, and it can also slow down your digestion so you can feel full and indulge less.
Grapefruit. Even for critics of fruit generally, the grapefruit is a good weight loss food, having been shown to have a direct impact on weight loss when eaten before meals.
Green tea. Green tea keeps you hydrated like water does, but it also contains antioxidants that help you burn calories and fat.
Leafy greens. Leafy greens like chards, collards, kale, mustard greens and spinach are low in carbohydrates and calories, and packed with antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins. You can eat a large volume of leafy greens to feel fuller without consuming as many calories.
Nuts. Nuts are high in fat, but when eaten in small quantities, they’re a perfect snack. That’s because they contain a balanced amount of healthy fat, fiber and protein. Choose almonds, pine nuts, walnuts or any other tree nut.
Whole eggs. Research now shows eggs don’t cause high blood cholesterol or heart attacks, and they are nutrient dense, loaded with healthy fats and proteins to keep you feeling satisfied longer.
4. Meal breakdown (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner)
As you consider how to distribute your calories throughout your day and evening, focus on how they break down into carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Make sure you’ve got the right balance between these three components for each of your five small meals. Deciding on what the right balance is depends on your personal goals and your physical state.
- Carbohydrates fuel muscles during exercise and are the only energy source for the red blood cells and brain.
- Fat is critical to cell structure and brain function.
- Protein preserves muscle, stimulates the expenditure of energy and increases satiety.
Protein has the greatest range of overall metabolic benefits for weight loss, but how can you decide how to adjust carbohydrate and fat calories, and by how much?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that you balance your meals within these ranges:
- Carbohydrates: 45-65% of calories (and at least 130 grams per day to maintain brain and CNS function)
- Fat: 20-35% of calories
- Protein: 10-35% of calories
A diet of 1,200 calories in a day that is 45 percent carbohydrates provides 135 grams of carbohydrates — just enough to meet the body’s minimum needs. Therefore, this should be your minimum baseline for weight loss.
From there, you have 55 percent of your daily calories to allot between healthy fats and protein, so aim for 25 to 30 percent in each category based on whether you’d rather emphasize protein or healthy fats.
Remember that the quality of the calorie counts, so you need to make each calorie work as hard as it can for your body and your weight loss goals:
- Carbohydrate quality. The more complex, the better. Choose vegetables and whole grains, not refined or simple carbohydrates. Avoid all sugary treats.
- Protein quality. Lean protein is your best option, so choose beans and legumes, whole eggs and lean meats like chicken and turkey.
- Fat quality. Healthy fats, especially those rich in omega-3s, are essential for brain function. Choose naturally occurring fats that are unprocessed such as those in avocados, dark chocolate, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and whole eggs.
5. Food myths to be aware of
Don’t let weight loss myths, like the ones listed below, hold you back from achieving your goals.
Myth: Drink three glasses of milk every day, or their equivalent.
Reality: Most adults cannot properly digest milk. Instead, choose leafy greens and legumes for calcium and drink plenty of water.
Myth: Orange juice is a great source of vitamins.
Reality: Drinking any fruit juice is like drinking liquid sugar, and it’s not the best source of vitamins. For antioxidants, choose blueberries, green tea, pecans, artichokes, kidney beans or blackberries.
Myth: Whole grains, especially oatmeal, are heart-healthy.
Reality: Eating ground-up grains is like eating sugar. Choose naturally heart-healthy foods like edamame, blueberries, nuts, legumes, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, flax seeds, dark leafy greens, pomegranate, avocado or green tea.
Myth: Three square meals a day is the healthiest way to eat.
Reality: It is easier to control hunger by eating five smaller meals or three meals and two snacks over the course of your day.
Myth: Eat bananas if you have heart problems because they contain potassium.
Reality: The starch in a ripe banana instantly turns into sugar in your bloodstream. If you’re looking for potassium, choose sun-dried tomatoes, kidney beans, dark leafy greens or avocado.
Myth: Vegetable/tomato juice is like drinking a serving of vegetables.
Reality: Vegetable/tomato juice is drowning in sugar. Opt for whole foods, especially raw cruciferous vegetables and dark leafy greens.
Any doctor or dietician will tell you to drink water instead of soda or juice. Water is critical to good health; it promotes normal bowel function and digestion, flushes the impurities and toxins from your body, adds moisture to your skin and hair and energizes your muscles.
Research shows that drinking water 30 minutes before eating aids in weight loss. These results were seen even among people who made no changes to their caloric intake or exercise regimens. This may be because water helps fill up your stomach, but it’s also because many feelings of hunger are actually caused by dehydration.
Whether you’re hungry or thirsty, the body releases hormones to the same portion of your brain, the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus can’t distinguish between these two signals, so it tells you to eat. Your body and mind get even more confused by the fact that feeling moody, lightheaded and weak are all signs of both dehydration and hunger.
The right default move is to drink water first. Chances are that you’re slightly dehydrated, even if you don’t think so. Research shows that up to 75 percent of Americans don’t drink enough water, so odds are that you’re simply not drinking enough. Since water is key to detox, digestion, elimination and weight loss, this is something you should change right now.
Nutritional supplements can help you re-energize your body and achieve your weight loss goals naturally. Many of the health products in the Tony Robbins health line are designed to provide bioenergetic nutrients, energy and essential compounds to maximize health and weight loss.
The Ultimate Weight Loss program, available in chocolate or vanilla, is specifically designed to support healthy weight loss in just 14 days. Here’s how each supplement works to help you attain the healthy, lean body you’re dreaming of.
Fuel for Life Shake
- Contains 17 grams of pea protein
- Dairy, gluten and lactose-free meal replacement shake
- Supports blood sugar metabolism, gut health and fat loss
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Supports healthy weight loss
- No stimulant-associated side effects often seen with other weight loss formulas
- Boosts metabolism
- Helps lower cholesterol
- Converts stored fat into energy
- Boosts fat metabolism
- Contains carnitine, which promotes heart health and sports endurance recovery
- Maintains healthy cholesterol levels
- Safely controls cravings and hunger
- Supports fat metabolism
- Balances blood sugar
- Controls stress response, moods and energy
Together, exercise and proper diet promote weight loss. One simply won’t work without the other. Relying on exercise alone can mean that you overcompensate for calories that you burn, getting in the way of your weight loss goals. Relying on calorie restriction alone causes the body to slow down your metabolism, which scuttles your weight loss goals again.
Your body is working hard to maintain what it’s perceived as its normal state and save energy, so you need both calorie restriction and exercise to force it out of this adaptive pattern. The longer your metabolism is out of whack, the harder it is to recover and restore it to a normal rate.
If you’re working to lose weight, you’re trying to set your metabolism back on course. You need to combine exercises that challenge your strength, endurance and flexibility. Aim to work on these types of exercises with “rest” days in between — although even on rest days you’ll be active, getting out for a walk, swim or an activity of your choosing.
For each compound exercise listed below, alternate the recommended number of sets with 30 to 60 second rest periods:
Squat to overhead press
This exercise focuses on your abs, butt, hamstrings, quadriceps and shoulders.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and elbows bent. Hold a 5-pound weight in each hand, palms forward, at shoulder height. Lower into a squat, and make sure not to let your knees bend past your toes. Pause for a moment.
- Stand up by pushing through your heels. Press weights overhead. Return to the squat position.
- Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
Single-leg dumbbell row
This exercise focuses on your abs, back, biceps, butt, hamstrings, quadriceps and shoulders.
- Place a chair in front of you, backside facing you. With a 5- to 10-pound weight in your left hand, bend forward so that your right hand rests on the chair’s backrest. Your back should be flat and almost parallel to the floor.
- Lower your left arm toward the floor, palm facing in. Lift your left leg behind you, keeping it straight, so you form a T with your body.
- Slowly bend your left elbow to lite the weight up until your elbow is even with your torso. Hold for a moment, then lower the weight.
- Repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.
Step-up with bicep curl
If you want to work on your abs, biceps, quadriceps, butt and hamstrings, this set is for you.
- Stand with a 5-pound weight in each hand. Place your left foot on a sturdy step or bench so your knee is bent at a right angle.
- Keeping your weight on your left foot, lift your body until you are standing on the step with your left leg straight and your right thigh raised parallel to the floor. As you rise, curl the weights up toward your shoulders, then return to your starting position.
- Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat for one set. Do 3 sets.
This exercise works your abs, back and shoulders.
- Lie facedown. Tuck your toes underneath you. Keeping your forearms flat on the floor, pull your navel into your spine. Raise your hips into a low plank position.
- Take a deep breath in while lifting your hips up to form an inverted V with your body. Pause. Return to starting position slowly.
- Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
You’ll work your abs, butt, hamstrings, hips and quadriceps with this exercise.
- Stand with your hands on your hips and feet hip-width apart. Take a deep step back diagonally with your left foot and cross it behind your right. As you bend your knees like you would with curtsying, reach your left hand toward the floor on the outside of your right foot.
- Return to your starting position.
- Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat for one set. Do 3 sets.
This exercise focuses on the lower body by working the back and butt.
- Lie facedown. Extend your arms with palms down and extend your legs so that you point your toes. Inhale while you raise your legs and arms as high as you can. Hold this position.
- Exhale while returning to starting position slowly.
- Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
Work your arms, chest and shoulders with this classic exercise that you can do anywhere.
- On the ground, place your hands directly under your shoulders. Plant your toes on the floor to stabilize your lower half. Flatten your back.
- Lower your body, keeping your back flat and neck straight until your chest touches the floor.
- Exhale as you return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 20 reps or as many as you can do with good form.
Another classic exercise, crunches works your abs.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
- Place your hands behind your head. Don’t lace your fingers together.
- Gently pull inward with your abdominal muscles and curl forward and up so that your head, neck and shoulder blades lift off the floor.
- Hold for a moment.
- Slowly return to starting position.
- Repeat for 20 reps or as many as you can do with good form.
9. Small daily changes
Permanent weight loss is all about making small daily changes. Simple lifestyle changes are the key to success, because they are the only way to ensure that weight stays off.
We live in a “supersize it” world, and this is why portion control is such a challenge. We have all become accustomed to huge plates filled with food at every meal; however, experts know that simply controlling how much food you consume is among the best ways to lose weight.
Even if you’re choosing foods that are mostly healthy, if you’re eating them in huge portions you may be sabotaging your weight loss goals. Don’t worry about cutting out entire food groups or never eating a “cheat” food ever again. Instead, practice portion control every day and make moderation a part of your life that you don’t even need to think about.
Don’t obsess about what you cannot eat. Focus on all of the wonderful foods you can have and the new recipes and dishes you can try. Revel in how wonderful it feels to be in control of your life. And remember, positive thinking includes cutting yourself some slack and being kind to yourself.
Keep a record of what you eat
Keeping a record of what you eat puts it all in black and white. It’s easy to forget things and make mistakes if you don’t keep track, especially as you adjust to a new lifestyle. Food records highlight patterns you might not have picked up on otherwise, allowing you to substitute better habits for older, destructive patterns.
And the best news? Once you get the hang of your new lifestyle, you won’t need to keep a record any longer.
Plan your food day
When you plan out your meals and snacks in advance, you eliminate much of the danger that comes from last-minute, hunger-based decisions. You’ll also save time and money.
No matter what your day is like, keep moving. There will be days when your plans to hit the gym fail — but don’t let that stop your motion. Walk to the corner store instead of driving, stroll the neighborhood after dinner or take a few fast stair runs at lunch. Just do something to keep moving.
10. Two-week plan to weight loss
For the next two weeks, challenge yourself to apply the following 12 steps of pure energy in your life. Living by these 12 principles will motivate you toward achieving your weight loss goals — not to mention an extraordinary quality of life.
First, give yourself these eight gifts:
Gift 1: The power of vital breathing and lymphasizing
- Take 10 power breaths 3 times a day with a 1-4-2 ratio. For example, inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 16 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds.
- Allow yourself to lymphasize by taking 20 to 30 minutes for rebounding every day. Rebounding can be through breathing, light stretches or quick trips outside for a walk that will allow you to reset your mind and body.
Gift 2: The power of living waters and live foods
- Drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces every day.
- Find a pure water source 2 to 3 times each day for maximum absorption: either a reverse osmosis pure water filter or Penta-Hydrate.
- Ensure at least 70 percent of your diet is water-rich foods, like avocados, cucumbers or celery.
Gift 3: The power of essential oils
Supplement your diet with the essential fatty acids your body needs (Omega 3, Omega 6) using the following options:
- Consume unprocessed fats in their natural state in foods like avocado, oils like fish oil, flax seed and olive oil, nuts like hazelnuts and almonds and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- 300 mg Krill Oil from Twin Labs each day.
- Udo’s Choice Oil Blend: 1 tablespoon for every 50 pounds of body weight every day.
Gift 4: The power of alkalinity — go green!
- 70 to 80 percent of your food should be alkali-forming and life-giving, including almonds, avocados, green vegetables, lemons and limes.
- Avoid dead, acid-forming foods such as animal meats, caffeine, dairy products, sugars and white refined foods.
- Supplement your diet with quality greens like Inner Balance Pure Greens with MSM from Tony Robbins.
- Test your pH.
- Add fresh lemon to your water every day.
Gift 5: The power of aerobic energy
- Build your base and lower your set point with 30 minutes of quality aerobic exercise three to five times per week; aerobics, biking, running, skiing, snowboarding, spinning, swimming and walking are great options.
- Calculate your target aerobic training heart rate: 180 minus your age.
- Once you establish a base, craft a training regimen that will advance your health to the next level.
- Make it fun: Add motivating elements to your routine like a change of environment, friends, music, a compelling race, etc. so you will follow through.
Gift 6: The power of maximum nourishment
Follow the five rules for healthy eating every day:
- Drink water before or after your meals, not during.
- Combine your foods properly: Do not combine proteins and fats, and do not eat proteins and carbs together; instead, eat salad/green vegetables with carbs or proteins, and only eat fruit on an empty stomach.
- Eat when you’re relaxed.
- Eat only comfortable amounts of food.
- Eat organic foods that are free of antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones.
Keep your Glycemic Index below 55.
Your ideal food pyramid should consist of 70 percent live foods, 10 percent quality fish or plant-based proteins, 10 percent carbohydrates and 10 percent quality oils.
- Consume the 7 vital nutrients every day, which are water, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fat.
- Periodically cleanse your internal organs and body.
- Supplement for specific conditions to maximize your results.
Gift 7: Structural alignment and maximum strength
- Move! Stay active, take the stairs, park further away and move every day.
- Implement a balanced, bilaterally symmetrical regimen of exercises and stretches that work opposing muscle groups for maximum effectiveness.
Gift 8: The power of a directed mind and heart
- Every day: Promote your mental well-being by conditioning empowering emotions like compassion, courage, determination, faith, gratitude and love. Avoid negative and stressful emotions and work to break your patterns.
- Three times every day: Stop what you are doing and focus your breath, mind and emotion on your heart.
- For ten minutes every day: Flood yourself with future visions and positive memories.
During this two-week plan, dramatically reduce or completely eliminate these four poisons from your life:
- The poison of processed fats
- The poison of animal flesh
- The poison of dairy products
- The poison of acid addictions
11. Change your mind, change your body
Having the right tools on hand to affect major changes to your body and your life makes all the difference. When you’re ready to make lasting changes, Tony Robbins offers the resources you need.
The Body You Deserve is a 10-day audio coaching system designed to help you recondition your mindset to create more vitality and achieve your healthiest body weight. This system isn’t about yo-yo dieting or quick fixes; it’s about mastering the psychology and strategies that allow you to make lasting behavioral changes.
The Path to Weight Loss is a video program which focuses on the weight loss journeys of four women who struggled with weight loss for decades before experiencing moments of clarity working with Tony Robbins. Each of these women discovered that she had the power to achieve the physical state and emotional fulfillment she was looking for by breaking through old patterns and cycles. This program is designed to help you do the same thing, achieving lasting progress and improved results in all areas of your life — including your weight loss goals.
Your mindset and attitude are the most important element to mastering your weight loss plan. Your thoughts can take you all the way to the finish line or stall you before you start. You can follow through and get it done, but only if your thoughts are with the program.
Always remember that when negative thinking happens, negative results follow.
Don’t be your own worst enemy. In Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins points out that even the American English language can feel stacked against you: there are more than 3,000 words we use that relate to human emotions, and 2,086 of them are negative!
Think of this another way: You have a thousand positive choices! You don’t have to fall prey to what the average person does and resign yourself to negative thinking — you have willpower, goals and a plan to stick to.
If you have a child, you teach them how to swim. You don’t want them to drown! And you want them to enjoy the water and being outside. Teach yourself to think positively. You don’t need to drown in negative thoughts. Learn a new pattern to keep yourself healthy and progress to the next level of your life.
Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations:
- “I can’t” becomes “I will, I can and I am.”
- “I don’t have time” becomes “I will make time, I run my schedule and this matters to me.”
- “I’m too tired” becomes “I’ll feel energized after I do this and I have what it takes.”
- “I hate dieting” becomes “I love how I feel when I eat well, I like treating myself how I deserve to be treated and I love making smart choices.”
- “Exercise is too hard” becomes “I know I can do this, I am vital and strong and I love being this capable.”
- And finally, “I can’t lose weight” or “losing weight is impossible” become “I can lose weight, I’m already doing this and there’s no stopping me now!”
13. Reduce stress
Stress impacts your health in many ways, but several that are linked to weight loss and exercise include:
- Raised blood pressure, fast heart rate and temporarily constricted blood vessels.
- Amplified food cravings and emotional eating.
- Higher cortisol levels and more belly fat, which in turn increases insulin resistance and inflammation.
- Increased incidence of coronary heart disease.
- Insomnia and hyperarousal.
- Tension headaches with adrenaline and cortisol and fluctuations in neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins which activate pain pathways in the brain.
- Reduced amount of brain tissue that regulates emotions and self-control.
This means that reducing stress is a key component of your weight loss plan. The great news is that by following these 13 keys to weight loss, you will naturally be on the road to reducing stress for good. Changing your diet, staying active and making positive thinking a way of life all mean lower stress levels that last.